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Right-Wing Meloni Sworn In As Italy's First Woman Prime Minister

MILAN, Italy - Giorgia Meloni was sworn in as Italy's first woman prime minister on Saturday alongside her cabinet team giving the country its most right-win government since World War Two.

She takes office at an especially fraught moment, with Italy's debt-laden economy once again heading into recession, firms buckling under the weight of soaring energy bills, and split within her coalition over the war in Ukraine.

Standing beneath the crystal chandeliers of a frescoed chamber in the presidential palace, Meloni took her oath of office as her 6-year-old daughter looked on.

Head of the nationalist Brothers of Italy, Meloni swept to victory in an election last month as part of a coalition that included Forza Italia, led by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and Matteo Salvini's anti-immigrant League.

Her government, the 12th this century, replaces a national unity administration piloted by former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi, who was at the forefront of European Union efforts to sanction Russia after it invaded Ukraine in February.

While Meloni has pledged support for Ukraine, Berlusconi has repeatedly undercut her, earlier this week blaming Kyiv for the war and revealing he had exchanged gifts and ''sweet letters' with his old friend, Russian President Vladimir Putin.

After days of often tense talks, Meloni unveiled her team on Friday, giving five ministries each to the League and Forza Italia and reserving nine cabinet posts for her own party.

Technocrats make up the rest of the 24-strong squad, which includes just six women and where the average age is 60.

Italy's perennially week economy and ballooning national debt were entrusted to Giancarlo Giorgetti, seen as a moderate member of the League. The Foreign Ministry was handed to Forza Italia veteran Antonio Tajani, seen as a pro-European dove.



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